top of page

Empowering Vulnerable Populations with Fall Detection Systems

Falls can happen to anyone, but they're particularly concerning for older adults, as they can lead to severe injuries. We've previously discussed the causes of falls, their effects on health, and ways to prevent them in our blog post titled "Fall Prevention and Management."

A lady walks with her daughter

In this follow-up, let's delve into the world of fall detection systems. We'll explore how they work, the advantages they offer, and the positive impact they can have on the lives of older adults and their families.

How Fall Detection Systems Work

Fall detection systems come in various forms, commonly wearable devices such as pendants or wristbands. Equipped with sensors, these devices can detect sudden movements, changes in altitude, or impacts that may indicate a fall has occurred. The alert typically includes the user's location and relevant information, enabling quick assistance to be dispatched if a genuine fall-related emergency occurs. Some advanced fall detection systems also feature two-way communication, allowing the user to speak directly with the monitoring center, confirm whether the alert was a false alarm, or request additional help.

Graphics displaying the process of fall detection. 1) Fall sensing technology, 2) Fall detected, 3) Emergency response activated

When the monitoring center connects with the user, they assess the situation to see if assistance is needed. The monitoring center contacts the right parties if the user is unresponsive or asks for help. Depending on how severe the fall is and the user's situation, they might contact emergency services like ambulances, fire departments, or the police or contact designated emergency contacts such as family members, friends, or caregivers. These contacts receive vital information like the user's location and details about the fall.

The monitoring center stays in touch with the user and/or their emergency contacts until help arrives, ensuring they get the support they need. After the incident, the center might follow up with the user or their contacts to ensure proper care and update any necessary information in their system. While the exact steps may differ based on the specific fall detection system and monitoring center, the main objective is to provide fast and practical help to the user, minimizing the impact of a fall and keeping them safe.

A person has fallen to the ground and their emergency response system has been activated calling for help.

Benefits of Fall Detection Systems

  • Peace of mind: A fall detection system provides users and their loved ones with reassurance, easing their concerns about falls and their aftermath.

  • Quick and effective response: Fall detection systems ensure users get prompt assistance when they fall, essential for reducing potential harm and complications.

  • Independence support: With the added layer of security that fall detection systems provide, older adults can continue living in their homes with more confidence, maintaining their independence.

  • Personalized alerts: Fall detection systems offer customizable notifications to monitoring centers, emergency contacts, or caregivers, allowing users to tailor their system to fit their needs and preferences for the best response in case of a fall.

  • Two-way communication: Advanced fall detection systems let users speak directly with the monitoring center, enabling them to share more information or clarify the situation, which can be invaluable during emergencies.

An occupational therapist teaches a client about their new fall detection system.

Fall Detection Systems Are Not Just for the Frail and Elderly

Fall detection systems can be beneficial for various populations, including but not limited to the following:

  1. Older adults: As people age, the risk of falls increases due to factors such as muscle weakness, poor balance, and slower reflexes. Fall detection systems can provide crucial support for older adults, ensuring prompt assistance in case of a fall and offering peace of mind.

  2. People with mobility issues: Individuals with mobility problems, such as those who use a cane, walker, or wheelchair, can benefit from fall detection systems as they are at a higher risk of falling.

  3. Individuals with chronic conditions: People with chronic health conditions, such as Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, or arthritis, may experience balance problems or muscle weakness that can increase their risk of falling. Fall detection systems can be an essential safety measure for them.

  4. People recovering from surgery or injury: Those recovering from surgery or injuries may be temporarily more prone to falls due to weakness, limited mobility, or pain medication that can cause dizziness. A fall detection system can provide added security during the recovery period.

  5. Individuals with cognitive impairments: People with cognitive impairments, such as Alzheimer's disease or dementia, may have a higher risk of falls due to disorientation or confusion. Fall detection systems can help ensure their safety.

  6. People taking certain medications: Some medications, such as sedatives, tranquillizers, or antidepressants, can increase the risk of falling by causing drowsiness or dizziness. Fall detection systems can offer additional protection for those taking such medications,

While fall detection systems can be particularly beneficial for these populations, they can also provide added security and peace of mind for anyone concerned about the risk of falls or living alone.

Tracking Devices for People Living with Dementia

GPS trackers are specially designed gadgets that help locate individuals with dementia or other cognitive impairments who might wander. These devices use Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to monitor the person's location and share it with caregivers, family members, or emergency responders.

There's a wide range of GPS trackers, including wearable items like watches, pendants, or even shoe inserts, and small standalone devices that can be attached to clothes or placed in a pocket. Some GPS trackers also offer extra features, such as geofencing, which lets caregivers set up a virtual boundary (a safe zone) for the person with dementia. If the individual leaves this zone, the tracker sends an alert to the designated contact, informing them of the potential wandering incident.

A cell phone with google maps app loaded and a paper map in the background. Fall detection systems can be GPS activated.

These trackers can be priceless tools for safeguarding people with dementia and giving peace of mind to their loved ones. In case of wandering, the GPS location data helps caregivers or emergency responders locate the person quickly, reducing the risk of harm or accidents. Real-time location information allows caregivers and family members to monitor the individual's movements and step in swiftly if needed.

It's crucial to select a GPS tracker that meets the specific needs and preferences of the person with dementia, considering factors like ease of use, battery life, and additional features. Researching various devices and consulting with healthcare professionals can aid in making an informed choice about the most suitable GPS tracker for a person with dementia who is at risk of wandering.

Fall Detection Systems Available in Canada

Philips Lifeline

  • HomeSafe with AutoAlert: A home-based system with fall detection, including a pendant or wristband option.

  • GoSafe 2: A mobile system with GPS, fall detection, and two-way communication worn as a pendant.

  • Website:

  • Phone number: 1-866-784-1992


  • In-Home System: A home-based system with a waterproof pendant or wristband, fall detection is available as an add-on.

  • MobileAlert System: A mobile system with GPS, fall detection, and two-way communication worn as a pendant.

  • Website:

  • Phone number: 1-866-220-1212

A picture of a LifeLine device. Pendant and base station.

DirectAlert (now Telus LivingWell Companion)

  • Classic Home System: A home-based system with a choice of a pendant or wristband, fall detection is available as an add-on.

  • Cellular Home System: A home-based system that doesn't require a landline, with a pendant or wristband option and fall detection available as an add-on.

  • Mobile GPS System: A mobile system with GPS, fall detection, and two-way communication worn as a pendant.

  • Website:

  • Phone number: 1-855-909-2250


  • Home Fall Detection: A home-based system with a pendant that includes fall detection.

  • On-the-Go Fall Detection: A mobile system with GPS, fall detection, and two-way communication, worn as a pendant.

  • Website:

  • Phone number: 1-866-581-4540 (U.S. number, but the service is available in Canada)


bottom of page